Thursday, April 29, 2010

On buying books

I know my post on Sunday was about all the books that have come into my house, but wait. There's more. And this time it doesn't feel so good. Not that I'm upset or that I regret having these books. It's more like a feeling of uneasiness. When does it get to be too much?

It's not that I don't have the money to buy the books (I mostly buy my books in second-hand shops as it is) and it's not that I don't have the space for the books (I won't soon, though!). I wouldn't mind so much if I was buying these books with a happy heart, without any other motive other than reading good books. But my motive doesn't seem that clear-cut.

It feels like buying books for the sake of buying books. Me buying books is like a shopaholic going on spending binges, or a comfort eater shovelling the food in (I'm guilty of that as well, it deserves its own post!). Or even... like a junkie buying drugs. But not quite. And not in that jokey 'haha, I'm addicted to buying books' sort of way. I actually do feel like I'm addicted to buying books. Like the process of acquiring these books is trying to fill a hole inside of me but instead leaves me feeling empty. But surrounded by books. Does that even make any sense?

So I feel like I need to take the power away from the books. I'm going to have a clear out of all the books that I've read and will never read again. Give it all to charity or my local library. To friends, if they're interested. I'll do the same with the books on my TBR shelves. When I posted my list of books I needed to read, I found myself telling a lot of people 'I can't remember why or when I bought that book..' so why bother? I don't need to be surrounded by books constantly. It's not doing anything for me. And it'll be good to break that cycle of placing emotional importance on the books that I've already read.

And I can't say that a complete book ban will be helpful either. But I'm going to cut down. Take things one step at a time. Really think beforehand, do I really want to read this book right away? Can I get it at the library? Does it NEED to be part of my personal library? And no more buying books on a whim either. If I see a book, instead of buying it straight away, I'll sleep on it. And once that's done, maybe I can work out the reason I need to buy all these books. And work on that.

Here are the books that came into my house this week:

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson
Silent Scream by Josh Cannon
Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Della Says OMG! by Keris Stainton
Paper Towns by John Green
Marked by PC and Kristin Cast
I Am A Cat by Natsume Soseki
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
American Rust by Philipp Meyer

(and not pictured) American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang and Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor. Is there any hope for me?


  1. No hope at all :0 We all need something as a comforter and like you said there are worse things.
    Remember me on your clear-out.
    I picked up 3 more books at the charity shop yesterday at 50p I couldn't help myself :)

  2. I don't have the money or the space for more books at this point, so here are the two things that help me not buy books.

    1. I have a big family and they are constantly having birthdays, particularly in the first half of the year (which is when I tend to be more depressed and thus in need of book-buying therapy). Instead of buying books for me, I buy presents for them.

    2. I have this aunt who loves spending money and doesn't know what books she wants. When I feel in need of spending money, it is nearly as satisfying to watch other people spending money. Try it! I am always ringing her up to see if she wants to go to the bookstore, and she's incapable of leaving without at least one book of my recommending. :P

  3. Oh Jenny! Those are wonderful suggestions, thank you :) Buying books for other people is always satisfying, as is having someone read books on my recommendation. I will definitely try that.

  4. I have been battling this for years, and decided it is a hopeless case. I have tried giving myself a budget - so much per month, or buying one book for every two I read, or every book I donate to charity. But I always find ways around it. I might try Jenny's suggestions.


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